Have you ever looked back over the last several weeks and suddenly become so impressed with the changes that have come about in your child? This happens so unexpectedly but is always a welcome surprise! My daughter played soccer this fall as a 4th grader, and it was her first team sport. As a parent of four kids participating in five sports this fall, I had to depend on my kids to be responsible for their own needs each day, whether for a practice or a contest.
The first week of practice, I helped my daughter pack her sports bag every evening. After about a week, I would remind her what she needed to pack. The next week, the reminder turned into the simple, “Remember to pack your bag.” By the end of the season, as we’d be getting in the car, heading to school, the question became, “Did you pack your bag?”
It was awesome to see, in just 6 short weeks, how her part in this morphed from bystander, to participant, to complete independence. The best part of all this is how she felt about herself. She saw herself as having control of this, and even more, she saw herself as being successful in taking care of herself. She’s got this!
As the season had just ended, and I was sitting down to write this blog, I was chatting with my daughter about this topic. She had more insight than I could have imagined! She shared with me that from this season of soccer, she learned three main things:
- Learn from your mistakes. Once, she forgot soccer socks. It was really awkward at practice because it felt weird to wear shin guards and cleats with no socks. From that day on, she never forgot to put anything into her bag.
- Don’t put things off. She told me that she knew she’d have soccer at least three days a week, and with her brothers also having two sports each, she knew she’d better get her weekly homework done the first night of the week she had at home.
- She doesn’t have to depend on Mom for everything. She realized that she can be organized in such a way that she will know exactly what is needed to be done without constant help from me.
Proud. Mom. Moment. Wow! It was a slow progression to see her go from helping me pack her bag to a simple question of, “Got all your stuff?” But to have this amazing conversation with her about what she learned from all this was definitely the unexpected and welcome surprise that every mom strives for!